Lankan student attacked in TN, sent back

A Buddhist-student from Sri Lanka was attacked by members of pro-Tamil groups inside the famous “Big Temple” in Thanjavur on Saturday, even as protests swelled across Tamil Nadu to press the Centre to vote for a resolution against Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes at the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) convention in Geneva.

Kanalekha, the Lankan student, was part of a 17-member archeology students that visited the historic “Brihadeeshwara Temple,” a Unesco heritage site, early on Saturday when he was singled out for the attack, police said. The visit was part of their field studies.

Shouting slogans against Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa, the pro-Tamil elements virtually pounced on the student even as those nearby formed a chain around him to avert a major incident on the “prakaara” of the temple.

The protestors gheraoed the student and virtually chased him away, shouting in Tamil: “Get away from here”.

Thanjavur SP Anbu told Deccan Herald over phone that even as the police swung into action and rushed to the temple to protect the students from further harm, the bewildered group – three or four of whom were Burmese and the rest all Indians – sought protection at the local ASI department office.

But the workers of the pro-Tamil groups were unrelenting and even followed the students to the nearest police station in Thanjavur.

Police arrested about 15 activists of the fringe Tamil groups, “Naam Tamizhar” and
“Tamizh Desiya Poduudamai Katchi,” the SP said. He said the situation was quickly brought under control and all the students were then ferried by a van to Tiruchirappalli.

Another senior police official said some pro-Tamil workers tried to attack the vehicles carrying the students to Tiruchirapalli but police succeeded in fending them off and taking the students to the airport safely.

The Sri Lankan student was subsequently put on a flight to Colombo, even as the other students were sent to Bhubaneswar via Chennai, police sources in Tiruchirappalli said.  
Apparently, all the Archae­ology PG diploma students were from Delhi, sources added.

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